Twenty-two die in kayak on way to Canary Islands
15 December 2006, DAKAR — More than 20 passengers died of hypothermia, hunger or thirst during a voyage from Senegal towards Spain's Canary Islands.
15 December 2006
DAKAR — More than 20 passengers died of hypothermia, hunger or thirst during a voyage from Senegal towards Spain's Canary Islands.
The Senegalese daily Le Matin, citing reports from some survivors, reported on Friday that at least 22 people died during the tragic journey that began in Senegal's southern Casamance region.
The boat reached the Moroccan coast but - after several attempts - was unable to elude a multi-national border security operation known as Frontex and was forced to head back to its point of departure.
On the return voyage, bad weather and lack of food supplies on board caused the deaths of 22 people, whose bodies were thrown overboard, the daily said.
Several of the survivors arrived at Yoff beach in Senegal in a serious condition and were attended to by health workers.
Others fled to avoid arrest by police, who have opened an investigation into the case.
Repatriations of illegal immigrants between September and October, Frontex's operations and the dangers posed by bad weather have combined to drastically reduce the number of departures from the Senegalese coast in recent weeks towards the Spanish islands.
Nevertheless, some desperately poor individuals have continued to pursue their dream of emigrating to Europe no matter the risks involved.
Between September and November, the Frontex operation, carried out jointly by members of Spain's Civil Guard, the Senegalese navy and the naval forces of other European countries, has resulted in the interception of a dozen vessels with 600 people on board.
Since January of this year, it is estimated that more than 25,000 people have arrived at the Canary Islands in makeshift vessels from Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, Mauritania and Morocco and that close to 5,000 Senegalese have been repatriated.
The boats almost always take to the sea at night and not infrequently sink due to the excess weight on board.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news